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Netflix identifies 9 videos removed on foreign government orders

Audrey Conklin

Netflix says it has removed nine videos from its streaming platforms in foreign countries since introducing the service, acting on the orders of their respective governments.

Details of the decisions were included in the firm's first environmental, social and governance report released Friday as Netflix balances its worldwide expansion with differing demands from international consumers and government regulators.

"As more people join Netflix from different countries and cultures, we want to ensure that our workforce is as diverse as the communities we serve," the streaming giant said in its report. "As we grow, we have a responsibility to be more transparent about our impact on society and our governance structures."

The Los Gatos, Calif.-based company said it has received five written requests, in total, from the governments of Singapore, New Zealand, Vietnam, Germany and Saudi Arabia to take down content.

Singapore asked the streaming service to remove "The Last Hangover" this year and sought to block the "The Last Temptation of Christ" in 2019 as well as three pieces of content in 2018.

The Saudi government requested last year that Netflix remove one episode of the original series "Patriot Act with Hasan Minhaj" from its platform in the kingdom.

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Germany, meanwhile, asked that "Night of the Living Dead" be taken off the German platform in 2017; a version of the film is banned in the country. Vietnam's government requested the war film "Full Metal Jacket" be taken down.

The first government request that Netflix received came from New Zealand in 2015, when officials asked the service to remove "The Bridge," which the country classifies as "objectionable."

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"Our catalog varies from country to country, including for rights reasons (i.e., we don’t have the rights to show everything in every country where we operate)," Netflix said in the report. "In some cases, we’ve also been forced to remove specific titles or episodes of titles in specific countries due to government takedown demands."

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Netflix recently joined the Internet Association, a U.S. lobbying firm representing tech companies such as Google and Facebook, which have also come under pressure from foreign governments to remove content.

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